Dennis Kucinich

Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, was born Oct. 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the eldest of seven siblings. He attended Cleveland State University in 1967, but earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in communications from Case Western Reserve University in 1973 and 1974, respectively. Kucinich is a Roman Catholic vegan who is divorced and has one 18-year-old daughter, Jackie.

At 23, Kucinich was elected to his first political office, as a Cleveland City Councilman (1970-1975 and 1983-1985). He ran for Congress in 1972, then won the mayoral election in Cleveland in 1977 at age 31, making him the youngest person to lead a major American city. He was not re-elected in 1979. Kucinich served in the state Senate in the mid-1990s. In 1996, he became a U.S. Congressman and has been re-elected three times (1998, 2000 and 2002).

Kucinich has promoted a national health care system, preservation of Social Security, increased unemployment insurance benefits, and the protection of hte global environment. Besides his political career, he has been a radio talk show host (1979 and 1989), energy consultant (1986 to 1994), and a TV news reporter (1989 to 1992).

His hobbies include sports, hiking, golf, and singing polka and patriotic songs.

Kucinich campaign Web site: www.kucinich.us

Issues, Strategies and Key Quotes

Top three issues:
War on Iraq: "U.N. in, U.S. out." As president, Kucinich says he will work to bring American troops home from Iraq and replace them with a United Nations force. "It is time for the United States to rejoin the world community in the interests of international security," he said.
NAFTA and WTO: Kucinich says he will stop the global race to the bottom by withdrawing from NAFTA and the WTO, replacing them with bilateral trade agreements that protect labor standards and the environment.
Health Care: Kucinich's plan is called Enhanced Medicare for All. The idea is to bring everyone into a comprehensive, universal public insurance system like Medicare, cutting out the waste and profiteering of corporate HMOs and private health insurers. "Our country has great wealth, yet we trail dozens of countries in our ability to provide health care to our citizens. It is time to fix this great injustice in our society," he said.

Official strategy statement: “To get people who agree with Kucinich’s political view to attend the caucuses." Rally support through grass-root campaigning, building an organization precinct by precinct. -- Kucinich Iowa Campaign Manager John Friedrich

Campaign's assessment of its own strength: “Kucinich offers the strongest alternative to Bush in being the most progressive candidate." -- Friedrich

" [Kucinich's] being human. He's the most human candidate and he's consistent, not changing as he goes along. He is who he is." -- Kucinich Iowa Press Secretary Terre Lundy

Quotes from Kucinich: Kucinich describes himself as “an FDR Democrat" whose goal is to "return the Democratic Party to its roots." He also says he is running "to guarantee health care through Medicare for all." -- Washington Post, 02/18/03

Kucinich said he has won all elections he has been in. “I’ll win this election, too, because I have the ability to go out there and get people excited in a campaign.”  -- Des Moines Register, 09/07/03

"It became clear to me that this wasn't only about the right to choose, that this was about a woman's right to equality in society,” Kucinich said about his decision to change his view from pro-life to pro-choice. -- Des Moines Register, 09/07/03

"As president of the United States ... I want to get the U.N. in and the U.S. out of Iraq, because we have to acknowledge that the United States made a grave mistake in the first place in going in there. ... If it was a mistake to go in, it is a mistake to stay in." -- Rock the Vote, 11/3/03

Potential Vulnerabilities

Critiques from others: "Kucinich is in the race for other reasons than winning the Democratic presidential election. ... Kucinich will never win the Democratic presidential nomination." -- Jodi Wilgoren, New York Times Midwest bureau chief, in an address to journalism students at the University of Iowa, 10/15/03

"Kucinich is not covered as widely as he should be by the mainstream media." -- Kucinich's Iowa campaign manager, John Friedrich

Our own assessment of Kucinich's vulnerability: Kucinich is the most progressive candidate in the race and is ultra liberal compared with the others. He is divorced; other candidates involve their families in their campaign, but Kucinich does not. He struggled with name recognition early on and continues to lag some other candidates in fund-raising. Kucinich has received less media attention than several other campaigns, notably the Dean campaign.

Iowa Campaign Information
Main Iowa campaign office:

3407 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
(515) 633 - 0400
www.kucinich.us

Iowa campaign manager:
John Friedrich
(515) 633 - 0400
john.friedrich@kucinich.us
 
Iowa press secretary:

Terre Lundy
(515) 633 - 0400
terre.lundy@kucinich.us

Eastern Iowa contact:
2333 Blairs Ferry Rd. N.E.
Cedar Rapids, IA
(319) 394 - 0428

Number of Iowa Offices:

8

Number of paid Iowa staffers:
15
National Campaign Information
National campaign manager:
Gary Jelinek
(216) 889 - 2004
11808 Lorrain Ave., Floor 1
Cleveland, OH 44111
gary.jelinek@kucinich.us
National press secretary:
Jeff Cohen
(703) 531 - 1184
jeffco@kucinich.us
National media consultant:
Lisa Casini
(216) 889 - 2004
lisa.casini@kucinich.us
National pollster:
None
Campaign fundraising to date:
Amount Raised: $1,740,954
Amount Spent: $659,463
Total Cash on Hand: $1,081,491
Copyright © 2003 by Iowa Presidential Politics.com. This site produced by the "Presidential Politics" class in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa.